How did the Field of Blood get its name? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
This objection is from the field of blood. How did it get its name? In the book of Matthew, we are told that the field was bought using money that was used to betray Jesus. In the book of Acts, we are told that it was called that because of how Judas died there when he fell on a field and his body burst open.
Seeing as he references an article by J.P. Holding on this, I figured it was fair to email JPH and let him say something about this.
First, he summarizes Kapr’s position:
Duh, but if this is right, “then we should be able to omit the clause about Judas’ bloody death without destroying the inner logic of the passage. But when we do this, the result is very odd: Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness. . . . This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood. Suddenly the mention of blood comes out of nowhere.”
Okay. So what does Holding say in response?
This is the objection of Dan Kapr, and it is just the sort of thing we’d expect from a fundamenatalist who is also a comedian. In case Kapr forgot, Matthew relates the origins of the “field of blood” name without any reference to Judas’ guts blowing out. Matthew gets the etymology from the payment to Judas being “blood money” — a payment for turning Jesus over. And Luke relates that episode in his own gospel. So no, the reference to blood doesn’t “come out of nowhere” at all; it alludes to the prior account Luke provided of Judas being paid for his treachery, Kapr’s inability to make sense of the writings of a culture removed from him by time and priority notwithstanding.
Kapr finds it “strange” that I wouldn’t connect Judas’ death in Luke with a lot of blood, but that is his problem, not mine. Luke himself didn’t mention blood gushing from Judas, and he didn’t say it became known as the “Field of Spilled Intestines.” In other words, it is clear enough that it wasn’t the blood that caught his attention. Kapr needs to break out of his fundamentalist notions that only what he thinks the text “clearly says” is what matters.
I can agree with this, but I would like to add something else. The name is the same. Could it not be for both reasons? I say this because the Jews happen to like puns a lot. (It’s worthwhile to note that people who have a great sense of humor really appreciate puns. Just saying.)
Could they not say, “Oh. Isn’t this ironic? This traitor who bought a field with blood money ended up spilling his own blood on that field?” This would be seen as a fitting judgment from God on someone like this. If anyone asked why the field had its name, the Jew could just tell them about the traitor who betrayed His own rabbi and then paid for it in his own blood.
These chapter reviews might seem short, but really Kapr spends a lot of time arguing one point and if you just address that one point, then not everything else matters. Again, it’s still often fundamentalist, but not as bad as many other authors thankfully.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)